S: Melvin and Esther Martini
BC: Melvin John and Esther K Martini Nov 2011
FC: Our Family History | "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." | Esther and Melvin Martini
1: Melvin J Martini | March 8, 1918 | Esther K Salzer | March 6, 1927 | Born to Peter B and Clara (Meyer) in St Joseph, Minnesota. The second of twelve children | Born to Stephan and Elizabeth (Reischl) in Avon, Minnesota. The forth of six children (twin brother Sylvester) | - November 28, 2006
2: Louise Masanz, Paul, Mary Lou, Melvin, Ivo, Roland, Lola Theophilus, Yvonne Knoll, Janette Reber, Carroll, Roger, Peter, Clara, & Joyce Hanuska | Peter Benedict and Clara (Meyer) married May 19, 1914 in St Joseph, MN | Peter was the son of John Martini and Catherine (Longen) who were married Oct 14, 1884 in St Mary's Cathedral, Saint Cloud, MN. Clara was the daughter of George Meyer and Susan (Knapp). | Peter Martini, brothers and other relatives | Peter and Clara Martini Family
3: Leander, Sylvester, Lawrence Esther Martini, Loretta Schloemer, Elizabeth Pfannenstein | Stephan and Elizabeth (Reischl) married Feb 10, 1919 in St Joseph, MN | Stephan was the son of Stephan Salzer and Elizabeth (Tschida) who were married Nov 16, 1886 in New Munich, MN. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Reischl and Christina (Danzl). | John & Christina Reischl Family | Stephan and Elizabeth Salzer Family | Elizabeth Salzer and Mark Martini
4: Melvin attended school in St Joseph for eight years. On one occasion while in elementary, Melvin and one of his friends, Leroy Klien, decided to jump out a window to see if they could get by with it. They did. Following parochial school, Melvin attended St John's High School in Collegeville, MN. Melvin was expelled during his first year there. According to Melvin it was because he was smarter than the teachers. The teachers were unable to answer his question, "If God was all powerful, why couldn't he make a stone so big he couldn't lift it?" After school Melvin was sent to CC Camp in Washington state where he worked picking fruit in the orchards. | Mel's School Day Memories | Melvin and his sister Lola | During his childhood, Melvin also worked with and learned from his father who was a painter.
5: 1942 At the age of 22, Melvin enlisted in the US Navy as an Aviation Machinist Mate. During WWII Melvin spent most of his time aboard the USS Benington. After four years in the Navy, Melvin decided he did not want to spend anymore time aboard the ship. He was honorably discharged and flew home to St Joseph. | Melvin, Roger, and Carroll while Mel was on leave | USS Benington
6: Esther attended St John's Elementary school for seven years during which time she and her twin brother Sylvester passed eight grades. They both completed 1st and 2nd grade in one year. | Esther grew up on a farm outside of Avon. Prior to school Esther spoke very little English; her native language was German. She learned English in school and helped her family learn it at home. | Esther's School Day Memories | Sylvester to continue his education at St John's. Extra help was needed on the farm. Esther stayed home and helped. Additionally, the | family could not afford to send both children & with Sylvester's club feet they decided it was more important to send him. | Esther did not have the opportunity to go to high school. When she graduated form the 8th grade, the priests at St. John's talked her father into allowing | On Sunday afternoons in the summer, Esther and her family often played ball with the neighbor kids. On one occasion Esther recalls Leo Gondringer picking up a garter snake and chasing he all over until his sister, Lucille, finally got the snake away from him. She put it in her bib overall's pocket. She was Esther's friend forever after that.
7: Early Years of Esther One memory of Esther's childhood is when her father brought her and her siblings home from school. On the way to pick them up, a hobo walking on the side of the road shot at her father as he drove by. He actually shot the pipe out of his mouth. On the return trip with the children in the vehicle her Dad made all the kids duck down in the car when they reached the spot in the road where the hobo was. He did not want the hobo to see them. Later that evening, Esther's father remembered he should have one bullet left in his pocket from butchering pigs earlier in the day. The bullet was gone! It was at that moment that he realized the hobo had not shot at him. Instead the bullet must have gotten into his pipe when he put the pipe in his pocket. Later when he lit his pipe, he set off the bullet and shot at himself. While Esther was young she often cared for her cousins after her aunt had given birth. At the age of 14 she went to the cities to work for Norb Koppy. She cared for his 5 children. Finally at age 17 she got a job working at Schneider's Cafe where she was a short order cook. She sent a letter to Schneiders to ask for the job and explained her dilemma. Due to gas rationing, she had no way to get from Avon to St Joseph, so if they wished to hire her they would need to send someone to pick her up. Nickie Borasch came to Avon, picked her up, and brought her to St Joseph to work and eventually to meet her husband. | Betty & Esther | Esther & Mrs. Schneider | Irene Court & Esther | Officer Nickie Borasch & Esther | Esther working at Schneider's Cafe
8: Married May 7, 1946 | Melvin arrived home from the Navy in December 1945. Esther had heard about "Fink" and was curious to meet this interesting young man. He walked into Schneider's in a suit and top hat while she was working and she knew she had to meet this man. She asked Melvin's sister if it would be okay if she joined them at the El Paso that evening. She knew Melvin would be there. At the dance Melvin danced with his sister Jeanette, her friend, and then Esther. They danced together the rest of the night. Melvin and Esther were inseperable after that. Five months later they were wed. | Mel and Esther Martini
9: Esther K (Salzer) Martini | Elizabeth (Reischl) Salzer & Esther | Esther & son Mark | Yvonne (Martini) Knoll & Esther | Esther & granddaughter Lisa
10: Esther worked at Sal's for a year after she was married and then quit to be a stay at home mom. Esther was in the VFW Auxillary. She participated in plays, bowling, knitting, crocheting, sewing, counted cross-stitch, shuffleboard, and cards. She also volunteered as an aide at a local school in TX where she helped students learn to speak and read English. | June Rahn and Esther
11: Mel tending bar at VFW picnic | Mel on leave in Siapan | Mel after Memorial Day Service | Double fisted drinkers | Melvin John Martini | Mel with Mark and Al
12: Melvin worked at the VA where he was in charge of the Paint Department | After Melvin retired he worked part time as a special Deputy for Stearns and Morrison County. He also sold seeds for Northrup King. | Mel was Scoutmaster of Troop 84 | Melvin was active in NARFE, American Legion & VFW. He was a state officer of NARFE for about 15 years. He was Commander of St Joseph VFW and the Sauk Center Legion
13: A little over a year after they were married, Mel & Esther had their first child, Mark Marvin Martini September 16, 1947 When Mark was born Mel and Esther rented a trailer. It consisted of one room when Esther went to the hospital. When they came home with the baby there was another room, a bedroom that Melvin had completely furnished. Mark was cross eyed when he was born and had the first of two surgeries when he was 2. When Mark was a young boy he | decided to skip school. He choose to hitchhike home to St Joe. On his way home he saw a car coming and put up his thumb hoping to get a ride. He got a ride alright. It was the high school superintendent. His ride took him right back to school. While Mark was young he worked for Billy Wasner pumping gas. Later he worked for Barney Staller. When Barney decided to | age of 26. Mark was married to Janice Rausch and had three children: Lisa, Lynn and Mark Jr (Bud). They later divorced. On Jan 16, 1978 he married Linda Lauer and had one additional son Eric and one step son Scott. Mark has grown up to be a very successful business man, starting with a gas station in St Joe and progressing to a bigger business in Avon. He now sells auto parts and enjoys trips to California to shop for his business. | retire Mark was given the opportunity to buy the business. He became the owner of his own gas station/repair shop at the
14: Vietnam after he graduated from high school. When he came home he courted and then married Barb Wallace on Sept 8, 1972. He worked and went to college. Pete graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Physics and Math from St Cloud State and received his Masters in Nuclear Engineering from Virginia Tech. He went to work for Schlumberger Oil Company as a field engineer in Abilene, TX. Peter retired from Slumberger in their Denver office as a senior petrophysicist (completing computer evaluations of oil/gas wells to determine the best way to complete and produce the wells, or just wish them better luck next time.) He had an early retirement because of health issues. Pete has struggled with Ulcerative Colitis for many years. He has had a number of hospital stays and surgeries but is finally doing well. They have two children Jeffrey and Greg. | On May 25, 1951 Mel & Esther's 2nd son Peter Stephan Martini | Day. They moved from the trailer home to a remodeled train car in another part of St Joe the day after he came home. Pete was a really good baby; they hardly knew he was there. On one occasion when Pete was young Esther was so mad at him that she gave him a months grounding. During this month Pete never said anything bad, he just sat in a chair and read books. Esther believes to this day that this grounding was a harder punishment for her than for Pete. She watched him sit quietly and read and she felt bad while he said nothing. Pete served in | was born. Pete came home from the hospital on Memorial
15: Alan Frank Martini was the 3rd son born to Mel & Esther. He was born on February 15, 1954. Al was Esther's biggest baby - over 9 lbs. According to Esther he actually rolled over on the bed the day they brought him home! By this time they lived in their own home, a basement that is, which they had built for themselves. Al grew up helping his uncle Sylvester on the farm a lot. On one occasion while Al was young he was outside playing when he decided to shoot his little brother, Dean, with the bb gun. | Al is a great Dad and followed his boys all over the state for wrestling while they were in school. Since then he and his family have built a "log cabin", a really nice house on top of a mountain with a stream running below. Al married Leslie Leafty on March 2, 1979. They have three children Dillon, Cory, and Katherine | When Esther found out, she became mad. She made Al bend over and gave the bb gun to Dean. Dean got to shoot Al in the butt. While Al was | young he got a job with Blattners doing road construction. He worked all over MN, and ND before he moved to MT. Several years later Al got a job | working for Pegusus Gold Mine. Al worked there as a foreman until he retired.
16: Mel & Esther's 4th son Dean Melvin Martini was born on Oct 15, 1959. By the time they brought Dean home from the hospital they had built up the house. They even had a bedroom for the new baby. Dean was a good baby. Many years after Dean had grown up Esther learned of some of his childhood mis- behavings. On several occasions while Dean was in high school he skipped classes and walked over to aunt Mary's, where she would have fresh homemade cookies for him to enjoy. When he grew up he worked for Mark, who was already in business for himself. Dean got very good training as a mechanic. For a brief period of time Dean worked in Wyoming as an oiler for Blattners. He decided life on the road was not for him and he ended up coming back to MN and working as a mechanic. After Mark moved his business to Avon, Dean rented a space from him, where he could work in the car repair business for himself. Dean is much like his father when it comes to fishing, hunting and catching turtles. He has an occasional really good fish fry! On May 21, 2000 Dean was married to Kelly Hedlund. They have three children Dillon, Alyssa, and Megan.
17: On August 30, 1967 Mel & Esther finally got it right! Michelle Ann Martini was born. Mel and Esther were sure surprised by this little girl! It was fun to sew clothes for a girl for a change. She was her Dad's pride and joy. On one occasion when Michelle was young her brother Alan made a bet with her. He bet her that she could not be quiet for 15 minutes. She took the bet without any hesitation. Time | went by and she said nothing. An hour passed and Michelle did not talk. Well, Alan kept turning the hands on the clock back to see how long she would fall for it. This | was the longest time in Michelle's life that she has kept her mouth shut. Michelle graduated salutatorian from Grey Eagle high school. She attended St Cloud State and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors in Mathematics. She taught in Holdingford until the school was in SOD. At that time Michelle got into banking. She has acquired her Series 7 investment license and now works as a Loan Officer for Pine | Carlson on August 6, 1988. They have two children James and Cody. | Country Bank in Royalton. Michelle was married to John
18: Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.
20: Melvin and Esther received a big pair of pants from some of their children. They refused to both get in them together. | 50th Anniversary | Celebration at the Golden Eagle Supper Club where Mel and Esther often liked to go dancing.
21: Shuffleboard Winners Esther Martini & Merv Mourlam from Iowa | Winter Olympic Winners Darts - Audrey Pletch & Rita Norlander 8 Ball Pool - Keith Melchert & Ann Dvorsak Shuffle Board - Ben Bentson & Ellie Healey Mini Golf - Esther Martini & Dee Mourlam | Shuffleboard Winners Rita Norlander & Esther Martini | Blunt Tournament Winners: Lloyd Wilson & Esther Runners Up: Rita & Dick Norlander | A few Winter Texan Trophies
22: Turtle Hunting In spring when the lakes were just opening up, Mel would go turtling. He would punch a hole in the ice when he saw a turtle. On one occasion Esther went with. she did not want to go with but she did. When Mel caught a turtle he threw it in a gunny sack. All Esther had to do was watch the sack. When the turtle started to crawl out Esther yelled "it is getting out." Melvin yelled back to "stop it. Put your foot on the sack." Esther | didn't want to get bit so she watched it crawl out. It actually crawled out of the sack & back down the hole. Esther did not get to go again.
23: F A M I L Y | forever
24: As I Grew up in the 1930s As she walked into the kitchen, she thought, ‘Man, things have sure changed since I was a kid.” Once she sat down at the kitchen table, she told me “You kids have it so easy today.” I did not understand what she meant by us having it so easy. But, I was soon to find out. We go back to the 1930s. This was a time during the Great Depression when there were many financial troubles in the United States. Now when she looks back, she realizes at the time she did not even understand that there was a depression going on. The children did not have any knowledge of the effects that the depression was having on the Midwest. As my Grandma, Esther Martini, was growing up on their family farm in Avon, Minnesota, she had many tasks to do. Some of the tasks that she had to do regularly were washing dishes, scrubbing the floors in the house, and milking the family’s cows. These jobs may not seem like bad jobs to do today, but some aspects were different in the 1930’s. Dishes are dishes and not that hard of a task, but for some reason this was one of the chores that my grandmother really hated doing. If she could find a way to sneak out of doing this chore she sure would. Scrubbing floors was done much differently back then. I had never heard of anyone scrubbing floors by hand before talking with my grandma. They did not have Swifer Sweepers or self wringing mops. When my grandma scrubbed the floors, she would get a bucket of warm soapy water and a bristle scrub brush. She would start on one side of the room, sitting on her knees, scrubbing the floor until it shined once again and work her way to the other side. This was not a fun job to do but this job she did regularly. The last of the regular chores that she would do was milk the cows. She would have to wake up at about six o’clock in the morning and go to the barn. She would milk five or six cows before she left for school. Many people today would think that only milking five cows would be an extremely easy task to do. Milking cows by hand is another story. First, she would have to get the cows that needed to be milked into the barn. Next, she would get a metal pail and the little three legged stool. Then milk the cows and off to school she went. Next, it would be time for the family to get together and start planting. The whole family would get together for this. Her uncle, aunt and cousins would come and help plant. In return they went to their farm and helped when they were ready, as well. The planting was all done by hand. Each family member would line up on one side of the field, each person having one row, and individually placing the corn into the ground and covering then up. Today many farmers still pick rock by hand, but now they also have machines to pick the rock. They use tractors that pull huge disk blade plows that can plow twelve rows at a time unlike the horse drawn disc my grandma's family used. There are also many different ways today to plant seeds. Planting can be done either with a hand planting machine or by
25: larger scaled farm machinery. The great many advancements in technology makes our lives today much easier. Now since they worked so hard, one might think they would have gotten many of the things they wanted. Well, one would be terribly wrong. When my grandmother and her siblings were not doing chores, they would play with their toys which consisted of old thread spools and empty spice cans. They would play farm with the spools being the animals, and the spice cans being the equipment and buildings. When they were outside, they played cars with old tires. They would roll the tires around pretending to be driving a car and yelling, “BEEP, BEEP.” Other times they would play games like hide and seek or baseball with the neighbor kids. On the holidays, such as Christmas, they did not put up a tree and put presents under it, instead they would set their plate on the table the night before and their parents would place their gifts on it. Their gifts usually consisted of one piece of fabric (that their mother would make them one new school outfit), a notepad with a pencil, and a couple pieces of candy and nuts. This was about all they would get for Christmas. On other holidays, such as birthdays, and thanksgiving they would usually have one nice meal and that’s about all except on their birthday they would get a cake. On the Fourth of July they would go to Avon for the town party for a couple hours then came home and they would finish up their evening chores. After it got dark her dad would go and light off fireworks for them, since they didn’t get to see the ones at the celebration. Easter was a little different because the night before they would put their caps by the wall going to the upstairs. The next morning the Easter Bunny would have put an egg in each cap. This may sound like they got a lot, but think about how much you get for your birthday, Christmas and Easter now a days. Children in the 1930s had to work harder then we do now. They also got a lot less toys and other stuff than we get today but they still had fun. James Carlson November 9, 2006
26: A Life of Moments "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years," said Abraham Lincoln. There is no better example of someone living his or her life to its fullest than Esther Martini, my grandmother. Esther has not lived her life for money, power, or fame; she has lived a simple life where she brings excitement, love, and joy to everyday moments. One of Esther’s fondest childhood memories was going to the Fourth of July festival at Avon. Esther could only attend this festival after she had finished doing her chores. One such task was to walk behind the horse drawn cultivator uncovering any corn that had been buried in dirt. Some of her other chores were to milk cows by hand and clean the kitchen floor with a scrub brush. Once Esther finished her chores and ate lunch, she would receive a quarter from her parents. Esther would then get into the car with her parents and siblings. They would then depart for Avon. Once Esther arrived at the festival, she would look around and decide how to spend her quarter. Rather than spending her quarter on games, Esther would spend it on different foods. The desire to purchase food was a result of growing up during the Great Depression when families did not have extra money to purchase food beyond the necessary staples of a meal. Esther actually ate her first banana at one of these festivals. In the evening they headed home to eat supper, and her father shot off fireworks into the darkening sky. Watching the sky light up and seeing the fireworks explode with beautiful and glittering lights was Esther’s favorite part of the evening. Over the next few years as Esther grew into a young woman, she started working as a waitress and short-order cook at Schneider’s in St. Joseph. While Esther was working one November day, she overheard people talking about “Fink” coming home from the war and how much fun it was going to be with him home again. After hearing all this talk of “Fink”, Esther could hardly wait to meet him. Esther finally got that chance on December 7, 1945 when “Fink” walked into the café wearing a suit, tie, and top hat. Esther thought he looked sharp and knew “Fink” was the man for her. After learning that this sharp looking man was going to a dance at the El Paso on Saturday night, Esther decided going to the dance would be a great way to spend some time with him. Esther talked “Fink’s” sister and her friend into taking her with them to the dance. When she arrived at the El Paso, “Fink” was there. First, he danced with his sister and her friend; then he danced with Esther. They danced together for the rest of the night. “Fink” walked her home that night, and he made a date to go to the movies in Saint Cloud for the following evening. From that day on “Fink” visited Esther every day at Schneider’s café. Exactly five months after the day they met, Esther married “Fink”, my grandfather Melvin.
27: Esther had been married for twelve years and had three children when she become pregnant. At the age of 32, she had her fourth son, Dean. That was when she and Melvin believed they were done having children. They were perfectly content with their lives. Nearly seven years after Dean was born, Esther began feeling sick. After a week of not feeling well, Melvin told her she should go to see the doctor. She went to the doctors' office and they went through the typical questions and tests. The doctor came back to the room and told Esther the news. She was pregnant. Esther was incredibly surprised to be having another child. The news was just as big of a surprise to Melvin. They were done having children years ago, and now they were going to have another child when they were in their forties. Rather than being distraught, Esther embraced the idea of having another child. As time went by, Esther and Melvin decided to pick out names. If they had a boy, they would name him John; if they had a girl they had no idea what they would name her. One day their son, Pete, heard a new song on the radio. The song was “Michelle”. He suggested Michelle as a name for a girl, and Esther and Melvin agreed. But what were the chances of them having a girl? They already had four boys. On the morning of August 30th, 1967, Esther went into labor. Melvin took her to the hospital but then went back home to take care of the boys. The boys needed to get to school, and the doctor had said it would probably be hours before Esther would deliver the baby. Things did not go as planned. The baby came quickly, and before Melvin had even sent the boys off to school, the baby was born. When the doctor told Esther the baby was a girl, she could hardly believe it. She was so excited! Finally, she was going to have a daughter. Esther could not wait to call home and tell Melvin he had a daughter. When recalling her past, Esther will say that the day Michelle was born was one of the best days of her life. In this way, Esther has lived a simple life creating opportunities to have fun and make new memories. From the time when she was a young girl enjoying her first banana through the unexpected birth of her daughter, Esther has always taken every moment and made it as joyful, loving, and full of life as possible. By Cody Carlson November 2009 Esther recalls one occasion when she and her siblings were picking rocks. Esther watched her siblings throwing rocks from the wagon onto the rock pile and breaking them. She decided she could do that to. She picked up one rock off the wagon, raised it over her head, and proceeded to throw it hard. The rock came out of her hands and hit Sylvester on the head. It cracked the skin on his head open. Sylvester was bleeding. Esther felt terrible! Sylvester walked to the house, cleaned up, and came back. Her mother never washed the bloody cap Sylvester was wearing. To this day Esther has not forgotten how bad she felt about hurting her twin brother that day.
28: Esther's Memoirs | What are some of the places you went with your father? My brothers and sisters and I took turns going to Avon Creamery with Pa whenever he would take one of us along. We liked to watch the man at the creamery dump the cans of cream and then steam them clean. After that we stopped at Bill Achman's bar and Pa had a glass of beer and we got an ice cream cone. What a treat that was! On some Sundays we went to visit our uncles and aunts and we got to play with our cousins. Pa always smoked a cigar when we did that and to this day when I smell a cigar, I think of Sundays with Pa. I also went to the meadow with him to help with the hay and in the woods to pick blackberries. How when and where did you learn to drive? I learned to drive after we were already married. Melvin went with me about 2 or 3 times and then I had to try it alone. I only drove on back roads, like out to the farm and maybe a couple of times to Aunt Eva's farm. Mark was little then and he rode with me. A couple of times we had a little thrill. Leaving Aunt Eva's one day, I knew she was watching, so I guess I was trying to show her how well I could drive and I almost took the turn out of her driveway on 2 wheels. I was thrown almost on top of Mark, but got right back in control. Pretty much scared me though. I had to take my driving test 2 times as I hit the parking meter on my first try. What was your favorite TV show as a child? This one is really easy! There was no TV when I was a child. We had a radio and sometimes we listened to some music and when I was a little older, my Mom listened to some soap operas, and I joined her for such shows as "Ma Perkins" and "Lorenzo Jones." Who was your idol growing up? My dad was always my idol when I was growing up. I always thought he could do no wrong and I really still feel that way. He was a hard working farmer and was there for us all the time. If I had any kind of problem, it seems he could always make it better. Tell about your teenage social life. About a half mile down the road from us lived an elderly bachelor named Leo Lauer. He was a professor at St Johns and a good friend of Pa's. He decided to teach the neighborhood kids to dance. Leo got permission from my aunt Katie Raab to use her house and an old phonograph she had for this project. He put on a waltz record and started to show us (one, two, three, one, two, three...) until he thought we understood. Then he took us, one at a time and danced with us until we did it right. Finally he got permission from our parents and took us to St Wendell dance hall where we all danced with him first, then were allowed to dance with anyone who might ask.
29: Did you have a close relationship with any of your grandparents? The only grandparent I had was Grandma Reischl, my Mother's Mom. She was a little gray haired lady as I remember her. I loved to go up in the pasture at the farm to pick gooseberries with her. Also at pig butchering time, she would come out to the farm and she and I cleaned the pigs' intestines for casings for the sausage which my Dad always made. She had a narrow board and used a table knife (the back side) to scrape the casings until they were so clean and thin that you could see right through them. Then she had a neat way how she opened the casings and I poured clean water into them and by the time we were done, they were turned inside out and as clean as a whistle. We then soaked them in salt water until they were ready to fill. Grandma lived in St Joseph with my Uncle Joe and his family until she died. What was your favorite season of the year? I guess I really liked all the seasons, but summer was my favorite. My sisters and brothers and I played all kinds of games outside. Most of the things we did had something to do with farming - like we pretended to have fields and made roads and worked our fields. Our machinery was spools and spice cans were our cows. We must have had quite an imagination! What did you do as a child that got you in the most trouble with your parents? When Sylvester and I were little, we were jumping up and down on our parents' bed and we sort of hung on to the curtains on the window. Somehow, we pulled the curtains down. My Mom got very upset with us! We both got a pretty good spanking and were sat down on the floor, one on each side of the kitchen table. I cried more than Sylvester did. I finally asked him if his butt still burned. - he said no, but I said mine still did. We never tried jumping on the bed again. Were you ever in drama, speech or glee club? I was in a few plays when I was in grade school. One that I remember, I played Hubert Klein's sister. We were both in our night clothes waiting for Santa Claus to come. When we finally heard him coming, we hid under the table. Now when I see Hub, he usually tells whoever I am with, that I sat under the table with him in my night gown! Melvin and I were both in a play once, years ago, with the VFW members. Maybe that was how I learned to crochet, because I had to do some of that in that play. How did you learn about God? We always prayed before every meal when I was little. We went to Parochial School and to daily Mass before school in the morning. My teachers were nuns and the parish priest came to school once a week to teach religion. We had to study and memorize the Catechism.
30: Tell about family traditions Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays. At Christmas we put a plate on the table at each of our family members places before we went to bed for the Christ Child to put our gifts on. When Mom woke us up for Midnight Mass, there were always some nuts, hard candy, and an occasional apple on each plate. Under our plate was a writing tablet for school, and beside the plate were a couple of pencils. On top of the candy the girls usually had a piece of fabric, so Mom could make us a new dress and one toy and for the boys, a shirt or jeans and also one toy. After Midnight Mass, we could have a piece of candy and then go back to bed. At Easter, we put our caps along the wall and in the morning there were always colored eggs in all of our caps and while we were little, we were sure the Easter Bunny had been there! Have you had any memorable driving experiences? Before I had my license I drove out to the farm and I decided to practice parking as Lawrence's car was parked beside the house. I wanted to parallel park and I got too close and hit his front fender. I was really scared that he would be mad, but he just went and pushed the dent out of his car. There wasn't even a scratch on my car. What were your chores when you were growing up? First thing in the morning I helped to milk the cows. This was done without machines those days. Then we chased the cows to the pasture and came home for breakfast. We did the dishes, then we could play for a while. We also had to pull weeds in the garden and pick strawberries and raspberries when they were ripe. We picked peas and beans too. We helped with the hay when there was hay to haul into the barn. During the school year, we didn't have to do as much, but we still had to milk cows every morning and evening and also wash all the parts of the cream separator and the milk pails and strainer. But we also had time to play after we had our homework done. Pa's First Car I vaguely remember when Pa got his first car. He was practicing driving it and ended up halfway in the woodpile! Sylvester and I were the babies at the time. (We were called the babies until Loretta was born.) We were really scared of that car. The first time we had to go along in it, we tried to get away. Ma had to run after us all the way behind the barn before she caught us and put us in the car. We made it to St Joseph to Grandma's house. When it was time to go home, they had to catch us across the street. Later we learned to like it alright, but Sylvester often got carsick. Before we had the car, we either went somewhere with the horses or walked.
31: Favorite place to go My favorite place to visit was Aunt Theresia Schindler's house. We sometimes got to stay and eat there. She was already a widow and had a bunch of kids for us to play with. She had a bench behind her table as she didn't have enough chairs to go around. My dad used to haul wood to her in the winter with the horses. Maggie Schindler told me that he was their very special dad substitute. He always seemed to know when they needed more wood. She recalled a time when they were getting really short of wood and there was a blizzard and even in that bad weather, there came their Uncle Steve with a loan of wood, like someone up above sent him, she said. The Big Snowstorm It started out like an ordinary day. Pa took Sylvester and Loretta to school that morning. (I was already through the 8th grade. Sylvester was going to high school at St Johns.) Anyhow, it started to snow. It was on Nov 11th. It snowed all morning and was blowing around pretty much. In the early afternoon it was really a blizzard! It got so bad that Pa decided to go and get the kids from school. The snowbanks were so high by then that he knew he'd never make it with the car, but there were still so many bare spots that he decided it would be easier for the horses if he used the trailer instead of the sled. Our neighbor, Walter Studniski decided to ride along in case there was trouble. His kids were in school and needed to come home too. They got to school alright, but the weather kept getting worse all the while and it was very cold. Luckily, Pa had taken some blankets and the old bear robe along for the kids to keep warm. They got to the neighbors and dropped them off. They only had a short way to go, but the horses couldn't pull the trailer through a final big snowbank, about two city blocks from home. So Pa unhitched the horses and Loretta and Sylvester hung on to him as he hung on to the reins. The horses managed to get them all safely home. That was called the snowstorm of the century for many years. Pa always said if it hadn't been for the horses they would not have made it home. They couldn't even see where they were going at all. The horses sensed their way. There have been many blizzards since then, but that one, to our family, has always been the "big one." Loretta lost her cap and Sylvester lost a mitten and were almost frozen by the time they got home. Do you remember what an ice cream cone cost when you were a child? An ice cream cone cost five cents when I was a child. So was a glass of beer or a bottle of pop. Candy bars were also five cents. Field Work Snacks While working in the fields Ma would bring us lunch. Sometimes it was sandwiches, sometimes syrup bread, and sometimes lard bread with brown sugar. What a treat. Every day Ma made meat, potatoes and kraut for one meal. We butchered every fall. We salted down the meat in winter and also fried it down or canned it. Smoked ham and bacon. We never had beef. Had spring chickens on Sundays. Ma made lots of sour kraut every year - Good!
32: Tell about your wedding day. After Melvin and I had dated for several months we decided we wanted to get married. He asked my dad if it was okay with him. He said "You make your bed and you have to lie in it." We took that as a yes. We got married at St Johns the Baptist Catholic Church on May 7th, 1946. My sister, Betty, and Melvin's brother, Ivo, were our attendants. We had a small wedding as we really couldn't afford a lot. When we came out of church our car was gone and in its place was a very old truck. We had no choice but to drive to the farm with that, where my parents had a dinner and a small reception for us. Later in the day, Del Horsch, a friend of Mel's brought our car back and stayed for a couple of beers. There were a couple other guys with him and they were laughing about the joke they had played on us. In the evening we had a wedding dance at the Hall in Avon. Describe your first home as a married couple. The first couple of months after we got married we lived with Melvin's parents while we waited for Joe Stockinger to finish the repair work on a trailer house which was located about a block and a half from where "The Martini" family lived. When that was finished we moved in there. It was only a one room trailer with a kitchen on one end and a living room on the other end. We bought a hide a bed, a kitchen table and chairs and a little 3 burner kerosene stove. We had an outside toilet and our water came from a well and pump outside our door. We lowered our milk and anything else we may have had, with a bucket and rope down into the well to keep it from spoiling. We paid $20 a month for rent! We considered ourselves very lucky to have that! Melvin found an oven one day that we could put on top of our little stove, so he bought it and we were really happy that now I could bake bread. He never did like store bread. One day he decided we should make cream puffs. I didn't even know what that was, so he decided to show me. The oven collapsed during the process of baking those puffs! We never made cream puffs again! After about a year the owner added an addition to the trailer. We then had a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. That was finished when I came home from the hospital with our first baby, Mark. What a great surprise for me to come home to a completely furnished bedroom! Even a baby bed, and my husband had done all that without even a hint to me. We had some really good times there. Tell about the changes you have seen in your lifetime. There have been many changes since I was a child. We didn't know where babies came from until we were at least 10 years old. I remember when my mother was pregnant with Leander. Sylvester and I were 10. Sylvester told Ma one day that her belly was really fat. It looked like she had a milk pail in there. She slapped him, but didn't tell us what she really had in there. Also we had no TV or video games. We got a radio when we were still little. That was quite a novelty. We listened to it whenever our parents turned it on. We didn't go to school on a bus, our parents drove us to school. We went to mass every morning before school. We had no electricity. We had to do our homework by kerosene lamps if we didn't get it done before chores.
33: Tell about your mother When I was little I thought my Mom was really strict, but now I know that she was really just always making sure that we would grow up safe and able to take care of all the problems that would come along in life. She took charge of most of the discipline in our house, only once in a while she called on Pa to spank one of us. My Mother was a hard working woman. She could milk more cows, faster than any one else in the family. She started her days helping with the milking, then go make breakfast for all of us, and then helped with separating the milk all while making sure we were getting ready for school. She helped in the fields whenever she was needed. She always planted a big garden in the summertime. We had a big strawberry patch and we all had to help with the picking and cleaning of the berries. Ma made the best strawberry jam! I sometimes wonder how Ma could do all that she did, especially when she also had her babies to take care of. In spring when we were all in the fields picking rocks, Ma would bring lunch for us every afternoon and some cold water for us to drink. It was a real treat when she had just baked some fresh cookies! In the fall when we were stacking hay or shocking corn, she brought a big, cold watermelon from her garden! Ma sewed most of our dresses when we were young. We always got two or three new dresses for school every year. Before she got her first wash machine she washed all the clothes on a washboard. That was hard work, especially Pa's big dirty overalls and all the dirty clothes that kids seem to accumulate every week. Miscellaneous story On Sunday morning we always went to church and after dinner we would sometimes go to visit our aunts and uncles. I mostly remember those times with cigar smoke. We liked those Sunday trips. We got to play with our cousins. We always had to leave for home by four o'clock as we had the cows to milk. During Lent we prayed the rosary every night. We all got down on our knees and Pa led the rosary in German. We all could pray in German before we learned English. Now about all I still know is how to answer the Hail Mary in German. After we kids got older and had learned the English prayers, Betty started to lead the rosary in English. We weren't allowed to eat candy during Lent. Whatever candy we got, we had to save till Easter. We each had a bag or a box to save it in. On Easter Sunday we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted. At Christmas we didn't have a Christmas tree until we were quite a bit older. Betty had worked at one of our aunts and had gotten a little money, so she bought our first Christmas tree. What an exciting time that was! Playing on the hay rack One day when we were still quite young, Sylvester saved my life. Ma and Pa were in the barn milking cows. We were outside playing and climbed onto the hay rack. Sylvester jumped down between the boards of the rack and of course, I had to try it too. I didn't know he had to turn his head sideways to get through. I didn't turn mine and I got stuck. He tried to pull me down but it only got worse. Finally he ran to the barn to get Ma. She lifted me up and got me out. Another spanking for playing where we weren't supposed to.
34: Tell me about your father I really have thought my farther was one person whom I could always go to with any problem. It seemed to me he had an answer for every question. I'm reminded about the day he and I went to stack some hay in the meadow. I was on the stack to pile the hay and he threw it up to me. One forkful included a snake. We both hated snakes. He said, "Phooey, a snake!" and I was down on the other side of the stack! He finally assured me that the snake had slithered down on the other side of the stack and had crept away. Then he patiently helped me back up to finish the stacking. Another thought about Pa was his first experience with a tractor. It was some sort of rebuilt old car, I think. We were hauling hay home to the barn. Pa was driving and several of us kids were on top of the load. When he came to the barn and wanted to stop he hollered whoa, but the tractor kept on going and we tipped right down the hill with our hay. The tractor stopped then. Luckily no one was hurt and we had a good laugh about it. He soon learned that unlike his horses, the tractor seemed to have a mind of its own. Where we have lived Moving seemed to be a habit with us. After we got married we lived for about 6 weeks with Mel's parents. Then we rented a converted trailer house from Joe Stockinger in St Joe. We lived there for a few years. When Pete was born we moved to the other end of St Joe and rented a converted train car from Leo Roeder. Several years later while I was pregnant with Alan, we bought some land a mile east of St Joe and built a basement house. After a few years we built it up and moved upstairs, Both Dean and Michelle were born while we lived there. When Michelle was ready to start 6th grade, we sold our house and moved to some land we owned on Pine Lake near Upsala. We built a garage there while we lived in a camper. We moved into the garage while we built our house. We lived there for 13 years. Then Melvin was unhappy with the rough roads and we sold our house on the lake and bought a house in Sauk Center. It was just the two of us. We lived there for 5 years, then sort of on a whim, Melvin put a "For Sale" sign out one day. The house sold the next day! We had to find some place to live again. Finally we found a nice little house in Grey Eagle and bought it. After 5 years there, Melvin was getting antsy again. A job was offered to us at Cedar Lake near Upsala for the following summer. Living quarters and utilities were included in this deal. We sold our house and accepted that offer. I spent the summer working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course Melvin didn't enjoy the summer very much, so he did some house hunting again. We finally decided on a mobile home in St. Joe. Every time we move, I say this is it, no more!! | Great Grandchildren: Left: Kacey, Mithas, and Gabriel Volkers Children of Lisa and Scott Volkers Right: Cameron Martini Son of Eric and Evelyn Martini Not Pictured: Mikala Martini Daughter of Mark Martini Jr (Bud)
35: Father | Grand Mother | Grand Father | Great Grand Father | Great Grand Father | Great Grand Mother | Great Grand Mother | Melvin J Martini | Clara Meyer | Peter B Martini | Susan Knapp | George Meyer | Catherine Longen | John Martini | Anna Thielmann | Nicolas Longen | Barbara Fehn | John B Martini | Mother | Grand Mother | Grand Father | Great Grand Father | Great Grand Father | Great Grand Mother | Great Grand Mother | Elizabeth O Reischl | Christina Danzl | John Reischl | Esther C Salzer | Stephan Salzer | Elizabeth Tschida | Stephen Salzer | Maria | John Tschida